Posted by Jeff Borzello
After racking up one of nation's top recruiting classes for next season, Duke is already off to a great start in 2012.
Alex Murphy, Scout.com's No. 2 small forward, committed to the Blue Devils earlier today. The news comes as no surprise to anyone who has followed his recruiting, although he also considered North Carolina, Kansas, Florida, West Virginia, Boston College and Arizona.
Murphy, a 6-foot-7 prospect from St. Mark's (Mass.), is an extremely versatile player who will fit in perfectly with Duke's system. He can handle the ball very well, keeping his head up in transition and finding people on the run or in the half-court. At times, he seems like a pretty solid point-forward. Murphy has greatly improved his athleticism over the past few years, showing off an ability to finish over bigger defenders around the basket.
He can knock down outside shots and mid-range jumpers, and will excel in Duke's attack and kick-out style. Defensively, Murphy uses his size and athleticism to rebound well for his position, while also defending most of his counterparts.
The biggest question with Murphy remains his ability to be a go-to-guy and take over a game offensively. He doesn't have a great off-the-dribble skill set and rarely attacks the rim after beating a defender. He's not overly explosive and generates most of his offense in the flow of the game.
By the time Murphy gets to Duke, there is little doubt that Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers will no longer be in Durham. Future point guard Quinn Cook is a playmaker and facilitates the offense, and Michael Gbinije can score in the mid-range as well as anyone, but the Blue Devils are still lacking an explosive player who can string off 30-point games.
Ever since Irving went down earlier this season, we have seen what happens to Duke's offense without multiple players that can create their own shot. The Blue Devils have relied far too much on 3-pointers and offensive boards -- they need go-to-guys.
So, while Murphy's commitment to Duke seemed predestined, it will not solve all the Blue Devils' problems.
With that said, Mike Krzyzewski pinpointing another player who is perfect for his system and getting an early commitment is a great start to Duke's 2012 recruiting class.